Thursday, May 9, 2019

My Thoughts: "...people used to be called pirates. Now they're open source enthusiasts."

I found it quite entertaining reading the comments to a blog by Jeff Atwood ( A large amount of them were dedicated to a single paragraph: "It's tempting to ascribe this to the 'cult of no-pay', programmers and users who simply won't pay for software no matter how good it is, or how inexpensive it may be. These people used to be called pirates. Now they're open source enthusiasts."

Why I find this so fascinating was how at-arms people were defending themselves as if the paragraph was a personal attack on them as software users. At first, I just thought it was the one or two people who always make a big deal about a small thing (the paragraph was not even the point of the blog). But as I continued to read, you see comments (paraphrasing): "long time reading, but not anymore." All over few statements (did I mention that it was not even the point of the blog?).

Still and in a more serious tone, the commenters even appeared to have missed the whole point of the paragraph. First to address the logical problem that keeps irking me. A lot of commenters were basically saying "pirates != open source enthusiasts" but the paragraph reads more like "pirates then open source enthusiasts".

Besides the logical discrepancy, the definition of "pirate" isn't the typical use of the actual people who "steals" software. From the usage, I took the scope of the meaning of pirate to be the group of people who used paid-software for free by downloading hacked or opened software or obtaining keys illegally. Common things that I saw back in college: MS Windows, MS Office, Starcraft, etc.

To me it was felt so ironic that those defending to never have been a pirate probably has used pirated products (I am clumping in MP3 and movies here)... with or without their knowledge. At least back in the day, that was the sign of a good technical engineer... so it is very hard for me to imagine an IT/SW person to not have used pirated products.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the use of the term "open source" instead of "free" or "cost-free" software. Because some commenters were saying "free" being open-source instead of closed-source software. But the article is about costs, so I am not sure why the confusion exists.

Basically, I read the paragraph of people who were users of pirated software are now users of open source software. I have the same sentiments. With more readily available no-cost software, most people have steered more away from pirated software.


I am pretty sure I've posted a blog about this (blame my fault memory). The periods outside of the quotes are intentional... it just bugs me to use periods within quotes when it is not related to the quote.

Also, I am not sure why I am easily amused by these things.


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